The refrain at the end of the last section is in Pali, it is the last words of the Buddha. The last stanza is an English translation which I edited slightly to fit the poem.


saṅkhāra

i

the paritas
have all been chanted,
the kaaba has been circled
both in meditative state
and in worldly concern,
thought has been transcended
and returned to
in agonizing pain

(returning from non-existence
back to existence
is a futile circle)

dr. king is dead,
gandhi is dead,
lennon is dead

(the destruction of all that stands is inevitable)

"amantayami vo bhikkhave,
pativedayami vo bhikkhave:
khavya-vaya-dhamma sankhara.
appamadena sampadethati"


ii

do you know who
was the one
who chanted the paritas
in sri lanka?
do you know who
was the one
who first circled the kaaba
in meditative state?
do you know who
was the one
who transcended thought?
wrote the first hieroglyphic text?

words written in sand
inevitably fade
with the ebb and flow
of the ocean waves

so has it ever been
(the destruction of all that stands)
so will it ever be
(the destruction of all that stands)

"amantayami vo bhikkhave,
pativedayami vo bhikkhave:
khavya-vaya-dhamma sankhara.
appamadena sampadethati"


iii

i am the one
who chanted the paritas
in sri lanka,
i am the one
who first circled the kaaba
in meditative state,
i am the one
who transcended thought,
wrote the first hieroglyphic text

i shot dr. king,
i shot gandhi,
i shot lennon

(i am dr. king,
i am gandhi,
i am lennon)

"amantayami vo bhikkhave,
pativedayami vo bhikkhave:
khavya-vaya-dhamma sankhara.
appamadena sampadethati"


iv

do you know who
was the one
who chanted the paritas
in sri lanka?

i have told you:
i am the one

do you know who
was the one
who first circled the kaaba
in meditative state?

i have told you:
i am the one

do you know who
was the one
who transcended thought?
wrote the first hieroglyphic text?

i have told you:
i am the one

words written in mind
inevitably fade
with the ebb and flow
of the waves of time

returning to the futile circle
again and again
to repeat the same
again and again
on and on
the drummer marches
on and on

but when will it end?
when will the circle
inevitably fade?
when will the cycle

finally

be

broken?

"i am addressing you, monks,
i am informing you, monks:
fabrications of mind inevitably break apart,
so you should become sober
through knowledge and the obtaining of it."




Poetry by Thomas Perdue The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 169 times
Written on 2016-11-11 at 03:13

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one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
This touches so many levels of thought Eastern and Western, always to difficult to reconcile the two, two such different cultures. You've done justice to the simple/complex ideas behind the Buddha's words. Well done.
2016-11-12